The new U.S. Supreme Court decision in MetLife vs. Glenn may do some good for insurers.
Eric Serron, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson, Washington, gave that assessment in comments on the implications of the decision.
Members of the court ruled 7-2 Thursday that an insurer that serves as both the provider and administrator of disability benefits governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act has an inherent conflict of interest.
The court cited a 1989 Supreme Court decision, Firestone Tire & Rubber Company vs. Bruch.
As in Firestone, “A court should be ‘guided by principles of trust law’, analogizing a plan administrator to a trustee and considering a benefit determination a fiduciary act,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in an opinion for the majority.
Serron says the MetLife decision is significant because it clarifies the Firestone precedent.